It is surprising to see the popularity of Asatru, a modern neopagan reconstruction of ancient pre-Christian Scandinavian beliefs, rise in many countries in the last fifty years, particularly in Europe and North America.
THE ASATRU RELIGION: WHAT IS IT? As for the term “ASATRU,” what does it mean?
Name coined in the 19th century by adherents of the Nordic Neopagan religion to refer to a modern reconstruction of Scandinavia’s pre-Christian religious traditions.
When translated into English, the name means “to be loyal to the god sir,” which is a tribe of Norse deities that appear in Norse mythology.
In spite of this, I must stress that this is a common name, and that the origin of this name could come from the Old Nornish word “tr,” which means “faith,” and “aesir,” which means “main” pantheon of the Norse religion.
When Asatru was first coined in the 19th century, it meant being devoted to and worshiping all Norse gods and their symbols, but as knowledge of Norse pre-Christian pagan traditions grew and new branches of this religion were formed, Asatru also came to mean being devoted to a particular group of gods, the sir.
- 1 What is the approximate age of Asatru?
- 2 The futhark’s runes
- 3 Legends of the Vikings
- 4 “NATURE RELIGION” has been used to describe the religion of ASATRU. WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN TOGETHER?
- 5 THE VIKINGS ARE ON OUR MIND CONSTANTLY. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PEOPLE WITH A SCANDINAVIAN ANCESTRY?
- 6 SHALL WE CONTINUE TO PRACTICE THE NORMAL RELIGION?
- 7 WHAT ARE THE ASATRU STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR?
- 8 What Is the Structure of the ASATRU Religion?
- 9 SACRAMENTAL AND ASATRUAR RESIDENCES
- 10 Places of Worship and Holy Sites in the Ancient World
- 11 IN WHAT WAY IS ASATRU DIFFERENT THAN OTHER RELIC SOCIETES?
What is the approximate age of Asatru?
Archaeology became more popular among the European nobility in the nineteenth century as a result of the rise of the Industrial Revolution. If you were wealthy enough, you could have it as a pastime, and it was seen as a badge of honor to have a job like that.
Because of this, nineteenth-century nations, whose political ideals revolved around nationalism and the need to find a common past to unite their masses and the new nations that were being built, turned to archaeology for answers to their questions.
People began to reflect on their past, and the nineteenth century was a time of great change, as industrialization accelerated and traditional values such as marriage and family were replaced by the demands of modern factories. As a result, many people sought to return to their roots and struggled to accept the social shifts brought about by industrialization.
The futhark’s runes
Reconnecting with one’s roots doesn’t mean returning to a pagan religious past, but rather returning to the land, traditions, and domestic and agricultural pursuits that are less stressful and depressing than modern industry. Finally, archaeology and people’s desire for old traditions and practices have come together.
The idea that the ancestors of modern Europeans revered nature fit perfectly with the associative consciousness of the nineteenth century and the political ideals of nationalism – to return to the land, to be self-sufficient, to family values and traditions – that was prevalent in the period.
Because of this, nature worship was prevalent in many pre-Christian European cultures. For the most part, this was accurate, as archaeologists at that time were focusing on civilizations in Europe that revolved around the seasons, such as Neolithic and Bronze Age European civilizations.
It was because of this that the majority of the gods and goddesses of European paganism were viewed as fertility deities.
Despite this, in the early 1970s, groups of people from Iceland and the United States, as well as the British Isles, formed an organization dedicated to reviving the pre-Christian religious beliefs and practices of Northern Europe, especially those of pre-Christian Iceland and Scandinavia, but also those of the Germanic peoples of continental Europe and the Anglo-Saxons. satr developed a new meaning and became a faith with solid foundations and a clearer religious structure over time.
Asatru isn’t an ancient religion, dating back to before the birth of Christ. Neopagan Asatruism is a modern neopagan religious reconstruction based on pre-Christian Northern Europe’s specific set of religions and spiritualities.
We can be sure that our Scandinavian ancestors did not use the term Asatru to describe their religions. It was not a single religion that pre-Christian Scandinavians practiced, but rather a variety of cults that shared a common spirituality with other pre-Christian tribes in Northern Europe.
Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson (a poet and farmer), who helped get satr recognized by the Icelandic government, was instrumental in bringing these ancient beliefs back into the public eye in the late 1960s, and from that point on, many organizations began to spring up in Europe and North America.
ASATRU IS NOT RESPECTED AS A RELIGION.
Asatruarfelagid, or “the community of those who trust in the old gods,” was founded by Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson and a group of friends, many of whom were poets or lovers of ancient Icelandic literature.
John Yeowell’s group formed the Committee for the Restoration of Odinic Rite in Britain, while Stephen McNallen and Robert Stine founded a Viking Brotherhood in the United States, which was later renamed Asatru Folk Alliance.
Based on Old Norse belief systems, these were the first recognized Neopagan revival groups of that time period. Another branch of Neopaganism, Vanatr, has grown in popularity, with many scholars contributing to the knowledge of the old ways as well as spawning new branches like Rökkatr or aursatri, which are both branches of the Vanaatr tradition.
Legends of the Vikings
Asatru or satruar (believers in satr) is the most common term used to describe those who follow the pagan traditions of northern Europe.
They also call themselves and their religion “pagan” (an old Germanic term for non-Christians). Those who are less knowledgeable of what Ásatrú is, sometimes call it the “religion of the Vikings”, and in general, during the faith, it is called a “nature cult”. So, to begin, let’s go back to square one.
For the sake of clarity, we’ll begin by clarifying the origin of the term “Viking Religion.”
In the early 20th century, archaeology was largely driven by nationalists, as we discussed in the previous paragraph They tried to find a common past for other “countries” to have a reference and a factor that showed that these nations were once united under one culture. For Central Europe, it was the Germanic; for Great Britain it was the Anglo-Saxons and for the Scandinavians, the Vikings (although being a Viking was a profession and a way of life, not a specific ethnic group, but it was a culture nonetheless) (although being a Viking was a profession and a way of life, not a specific ethnic group, but it was a culture nonetheless).
When it comes to Scandinavian history, the Viking era is practically a byproduct. Before the Viking era, little was known about the center, which was exactly when the Scandinavians made their way into Europe.
Viking Age archaeology was the key to discovering a shared culture among the Scandinavians in the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, when nationalist politics in Scandinavia, particularly Norway, became increasingly fervent. Through Tokien’s Old Norse and Old English literary works and Marvel Studies, which traced Norse myths back to the adventures of thunder god Thor, Viking culture spread and developed significantly.
Due to its obvious connection to Norse mythology and folklore, a religion like Asatru has been nicknamed “The Religion of Vikings.” However, satr’s formation and basic religious beliefs are very much centering on early Norse literature, both Sagas and Poems, both from the Viking period or late medieval and early modern Scandinavia, which depict much of the pre-Christian Norse religious beliefs and practices.
“NATURE RELIGION” has been used to describe the religion of ASATRU. WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS MEAN TOGETHER?
According to some 19th-century views and ideas about pre-Christian European culture as nature worshipers, and the belief that most deities were fertility deities, the term “nature cult” was coined.
There is a widespread belief among Asatru’s founders and early adherents that the gods manifest themselves in nature, which contributes to the idea that “satr” is a nature-worshipping religion.
When modern pagans enter academic fields like sociology and psychology, we begin to rethink our understanding of satr as nature-worshipping religion. Nature-worship was not a major part of pre-Christian Nordic and Germanic cultures.
For example, it is more frequent to find in the archaeological record cults of death, ancestors, battle, and magic, rather than fertility or nature-related religious practices.
Fertility cults and other nature-centered cults were not uncommon. Some people worshipped Freyr as a fertility god, while others prayed to Njördr for good harvests and good luck at sea, while others prayed to Ullr for good luck in hunting, and so on and so forth.
When it comes to deities, the gods had a wide range of facets. The same people who prayed to Freyja and Freyr in a nature-based fertility cult also prayed to the same gods in their other forms of worship.
Even in the Asatru (particularly in the “satr”), until recently, magic was considered to be secondary in pre-Christian Norse beliefs.
There are those in the social sciences who, like me (an archaeologist and historian), believe otherwise. While this may seem like a contradiction in terms, it is actually true that the Viking Age’s religious practices were marked by a great deal of magic, both in everyday life and in the public arena. A great deal of magic was a part of ancient Scandinavian religious practices.
People’s perceptions of satr have changed as a result of this. Perhaps satr wants to be known as a “nature worship religion,” which is why so many branches of the Northern European pagan traditions have been developed and separated from satr, because the pre-Christian Scandinavian religions were not only “nature worship religions,” but also extremely complex spiritualities centered around hundreds of different realities outside of the “nature worship” panorama.
THE VIKINGS ARE ON OUR MIND CONSTANTLY. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PEOPLE WITH A SCANDINAVIAN ANCESTRY?
One of the most frequently asked questions about Asatru is whether or not it is a religion for people of Scandinavian heritage.
People who have strong Scandinavian roots may believe that they can only worship the Scandinavian deities because satr is known as “the religion of the Vikings.
Even neo-Nazism and far-right political parties that are involved in satr are stigmatized. Because of the tendency to link Nordic paganism with certain racist and neo-Nazi elements within the Nordic pagan communities, numerous studies have been conducted on the subject.
Modern Nordic Pagans who care about their heritage and are committed to preserving it are not, contrary to popular belief, all pro-Nazi or anti-Semitic. Most modern Nordic Pagans strongly condemn the minority of Pagans with neo-Nazi and far-right political perceptions as being among groups that most Pagans want no association with. There is a constant battle against racism and neo-Nazism within the Pagan community.
Many non-Europeans have begun to participate in Northern European Pagan rituals from the early 2000s. Norse deities and Northern European pagan traditions are revered and practiced by people from all over the world, including many countries with no historical or cultural ties to Northern Europe.
It’s no secret that Asatru is gaining popularity in the United States as a way to inspire people to rediscover their own cultural roots. Racism or Nazism have no relation to Nordic paganism’s sense of ethnic heritage or its devotion to Nordic culture, as this is not the case.
It all began with a simple quest to learn about and appreciate one’s own cultural background. ‘Satr’ and other forms of Paganism today, at least in Europe, are looking for a spirituality that fits into our cultural perceptions rather than a cultural heritage.
Others have felt liberated to embrace the Norse gods and ancient Nordic traditions as a result of the growing shift away from organized religion. Many non-European and non-North American individuals and organizations have come to believe in this belief system.
SHALL WE CONTINUE TO PRACTICE THE NORMAL RELIGION?
According to some European countries, the Asatru religion has hundreds of adherents, including organizations in the United States and Europe.
In what ways does Asatru’s worldview presuppose certain assumptions?
The Norse myths are highly valued in Satr, despite the fact that they are not considered historical facts.
In order to reach greatness and enjoy this world, we need follow these rules, and as such, the gods are often viewed as a part of nature, and we humans have a close contact with them, as we see them manifest in nature.
It is important to stress that we are responsible for ourselves and that we only turn to the gods for help when all other options have been exhausted. Worshipping the Norse gods necessitates sacrifices, often in the form of communal offerings of food, drink, and other personal objects to the gods.
WHAT ARE THE ASATRU STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR?
Nordic pagan idea that objects play an essential role in the religious relationship with gods, gods can energise objects with power, and there is a flow of energy in all things. Asatru adheres to this belief.”
It’s like giving yourself to a piece of art; you’re giving yourself to the object, and it’s imbued with your essence.
To the gods, an offering can be made, which will result in an exchange of energy, an exchange of essence that will allow us to exist on our own but to use this energy as a source of power and enthusiasm.
The Megin, a force that is beyond our comprehension but gives us power, is what we need. Gods and goddesses are manifestations of this spiritual reality, which is influenced by us and influenced by us.
What Is the Structure of the ASATRU Religion?
Kindred is the name given to satr organizations.
It is the plural form of Gothi or Gythia that refers to a Kindred’s priests; they are called Gothar (female). It is the Gothar, the Asatr Community’s collective priesthood, that is responsible for leading the Folk.
Like many pagan religions, this one emphasizes the value of the community as a whole, and the role of each member of the community in ensuring the group’s well-being and ensuring its long-term viability by providing protection, fertility, prosperity, and health.
To refer to the rites done inside the kindred, we use the term blót, which comes from the Old Norse word for “sacrifice” (blóta). The altars used to perform the blót, or sacrifice, are called stalls, and they are almost never referred to as hörgrs, which refer to pagan shrines (an altar erected on a high place).
A Holy Book, like the Bible, does ASATRU have.
In order to become a Gothar, or “priest” in the Asatru religion, a person must meet three requirements:
– Odin’s wisdom, in the form of
– Thor’s mighty power
– Freyja’s adoration
Possession of religious books, family ties, and a concern for the welfare of others are common ways in which these three characteristics are manifested. Guidance in family matters, as does being a solid member of one’s neighborhood or neighborhood group, as well as working for the sake of the community at large.
SACRAMENTAL AND ASATRUAR RESIDENCES
Additionally, the Gothar use Thor’s hammer and an oath ring to execute ceremonies, and focus much of their religious activities on the Hávamál, Odin’s teachings.
A specific sacred text, the Hávamál, is not recognized to be the case. It is a poem that lays down the rules of the satr. The Hávamál is an essential poem in the modern religious structure of satr, and I am still insisting that I am talking about the modern reconstruction, not the pre-Christian Scandinavian faiths.
The Althing (Aling), a yearly high council in Satr, determines the rules that everyone must observe. It is obligatory for the Althing speakers, who are the council’s most prominent representatives, to attend the meeting.
The canons of the satr religion are the ones I’ve just outlined, however numerous satr organizations may handle things differently. Of course, there are many pre-Christian Scandinavian belief systems today that diverge dramatically from the theological reconstructions of the nineteenth century. There is a wide range of current spiritualities that draw inspiration from Northern European pagan traditions.
Most Nordic Neopagan groups adhere to the 19th-century religious reconstruction of the satr branch, but there are obvious distinctions between the various groups. Most of the gods revered in this religion are of the sir lineage, such as Odin, Thor, Tr, and Baldr, with two Vanir deities, Freyr and Freyja, making frequent appearances.
Places of Worship and Holy Sites in the Ancient World
As a result, other gods are rarely mentioned or simply not mentioned because the focus is on the Eddas, which are historical texts that emphasize the importance of the sirand; a very small number of Vanir gods. According to satr and Edda literature, the sir are the dominant gods of the sky, and they are more concerned with social realities and the need to maintain order. Similarly, in satr, organizations that focus on the gods in general, or those that focus on the sir in particular, divide them into two groups: the sir and the Vanir, both of whom were adopted by the sir, but are gods more concerned with fertility, prosperity, abun.
DO THEY HAVE ANY CONNECTION TO ASATRU, OR ARE THEY RUNES?
In pre-Christian Scandinavia, runes had a significant impact on the lives of those who lived there. Additionally, they served as a tool for a wide range of religious and magical practices.
Within satr, runes are more commonly utilized as a writing system than in other Northern European pagan practices, such as divination.
As with the Hávamál, the runic poems are the original literary sources for understanding the meaning of each rune. These interpretations are currently utilized as guidelines in satr.
Is ancestor worship a part of ASATRU?
This is a challenging question to answer in a short piece of writing. The pre-Christian Scandinavian peoples, on the other hand, revered the spirits of the dead.
Dsablót, lfablót, the “Fireplace Cult,” and private festivals in burial mounds, hills, and mountains on private property are all mentioned. Due of their secrecy, the historical and archaeological evidence we have does not provide much light on these religious depictions.
Asatruism’s ancestor worship
Modern recreations based on the scant information available are what are currently being practiced in religious terms related to the ancestors. These recreations can be presented publicly or privately. One of the religious characteristics that has been extensively studied in academic circles is this one. Using scientific methods, we can discover answers and data that help us better comprehend the way things were done in the past.
Now that we have pre-Christian Scandinavian archaeological findings and historical references to draw from, we can compare those results with the spiritual practices of current Northern Hemisphere cultures that are rooted in traditional polytheism, shamanism, and animism. Many hints about pre-Christian Scandinavian spirituality and mythology can be gleaned through the study of Siberian, Sámi, and Inuit folklore and live spiritualities and myths.
IN WHAT WAY IS ASATRU DIFFERENT THAN OTHER RELIC SOCIETES?
Neopagan polytheistic reconstruction based on pre-Christian Scandinavian religious and historical elements, this is what satr is all about. and Scandinavia of the Nordic peoples’ pre-Christian ancestral religion.
It’s worth noting, however, that the adherents of the satr faith communicate with Scandinavian gods and understand that other cultures have their own gods, so they don’t feel that their gods are the only true gods. NonethelessAs a result, religious activities can be subject to many variations and interpretations depending on the social context in which they are practiced, because there is no central hierarchy, no dogmas, and no sacred scriptures at the heart of the whole religion.